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Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 12, 2022 and The Weekly Packet, May 12, 2022
A $73.3 million harvest makes Stonington the top port again
Lobster value rose in 2021

Still No. 1

Stonington’s working waterfront landed the most valuable seafood catch in the state in 2021—again.

Photo by Leslie Landrigan Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Leslie Landrigan

A jump in the price of lobster helped make Stonington the most lucrative fishing port in Maine again in 2021, according to statistics released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources earlier this month.

Lobster fishermen earned $2.50 per pound more in 2021 than in 2020, with a per pound price of $6.71 at the dock. The total value of Maine’s seafood harvest, dominated by lobster, rose to $890,668,873. That’s $150 million more than the previous record set in 2016.

Of the total seafood landings in Maine, lobster accounted for $730,596,022, or 82 percent.

Stonington’s harvest rose to $73.3 million, up from $43.3 million in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down markets for a time. In 2019, the harvest reached $51 million.

Vinalhaven came in a distant second, with a harvest worth $55.65 million, and Friendship third, at $40.3 million. Those top-three rankings have stayed consistent since 2019.

“The consistent increase in per pound value is a reflection of strong demand for the products harvested here in Maine’s coastal waters,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher in a statement. “This industry has once again proven that dedication to quality pays off, and that the best seafood in the world comes from Maine,” he said.

The next most lucrative seafood product was soft-shelled clams, which brought in $25.2 million, or 3 percent of the total harvest.

Lots of lobster

Maine lobstermen hauled in 10,991,207 more pounds of lobster in 2021 than in the previous year, for a total of 108,889,871 pounds. However, that’s less than the 121,039,988 pounds of lobster landed in 2018 and the 132,616,424 pounds harvested in 2016, the best year on record.

The weight of Stonington’s seafood harvest ranked second statewide at 11.91 million pounds, behind Jonesport at 12.32 million pounds. Stonington’s landings were just 10,000 pounds below last year’s total weight.